Microsoft’s changes AI Recall feature after intense criticism

When Microsoft pulled back the curtain on Copilot Plus PCs in May, one announcement caught the eye of many cautious Windows users. One of the exclusive features coming to Copilot Plus PCs is called Recall, which uses artificial intelligence to take snapshots of the screen, store and analyze them locally, and then allow you to search for them on a visual timeline. Unsurprisingly, this set off alarm bells for many privacy-conscious users.

Following a barrage of criticism across the internet — including a terrifying report about hackers being able to access Recall’s data from cybersecurity research Kevin Beaumont — Microsoft is making some major changes to the AI-powered feature before its full rollout.

In a post on the Windows Experience Blog on Friday, Microsoft’s Pavan Davuluri shared details about Microsoft’s response to the condemnation Recall received.

First, and perhaps most importantly, Microsoft is updating its Copilot Plus PC setup experience to make it more clear whether or not you’re opting in or out of using Recall. If you buy a Copilot Plus PC, you will now see a new screen which describes the feature and then asks if you want Windows to be able to save snapshots of your screen.

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Microsoft is also requiring users to enroll in Windows Hello to enable Recall. In order to see your timeline or search in Recall, proof of presence will be necessary.

Finally, Microsoft says that it’s adding additional layers of protection to Recall, including “just in time” decryption protected by Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in Security (ESS). The snapshots will only be decrypted when the user authenticates. Plus, Microsoft encrypted the search index database to provide one more layer of safety.

These changes might not be enough to convince everyone to enable Recall, but it’s encouraging to see Microsoft respond to criticism so promptly. Copilot Plus PCs from Microsoft and others will launch on June 18, which is also when the Recall preview ships to customers.


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